Clark County Residents Will Pay
by Kristine Guerra
Clark Public Utilities commissioners on Tuesday voted unanimously to charge residential customers an additional 3.9 percent more for electricity.
But even with the rate hike, residential customers will actually see lower monthly bills -- at least for the next two years. That's because of the regional exchange program settlement, made earlier this year between Bonneville Power Administration and regional power providers. It essentially requires BPA to subsidize the utility bills of residential and small-farm customers of companies like Clark Public Utilities.
The settlement gave Clark Public Utilities $13.8 million that it will distribute to customers in the form of credit on their utility bills. So, for the next two years, monthly charges will be higher than current rates, but the total utility bills for each household will be lower.
Commercial and industrial customers, who won't benefit from the settlement, will see a 1 percent increase in their utility bills.
Beginning Nov. 1, an average household's monthly bill will decrease from about $106 to $103. After two years, when the credit no longer applies, monthly bills could potentially go up to $110 to reflect the 3.9 percent increase, said Clark Public Utilities spokeswoman Erica Erland.
The rate hikes are approved to backfill a projected $9.7 million budget deficit. Earlier this month, Clark Public Utilities' projected deficit was $13.7 million, and the proposed increase for residential customers was nearly 5 percent.
"We had an opportunity presented to us to reduce our power supply cost," Richard Dyer, the utility company's director of finance and treasurer, said about the decrease in the projected deficit.
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